There was fresh anxiety among the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta region yesterday as the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) ordered them to vacate all oil platforms in the region. This was as the Council threatened renewed hostility if the multi-nationals fail to evacuate their workers from oil installations within the next seven days. The threat was said to have been in furtherance of the 30-day ultimatum earlier issued to the Federal Government over non-constitution of a Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Meanwhile, the threat came barely two weeks after the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa declared that it was unacceptable to run the Commission without a substantive board. IYC President, Peter Igbifa, who spoke at the annual Boro-Day Celebration in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, advised the oil firms to prepare to evacuate the region for a total shutdown of all oil exploration activities after the expiration of the 30-day ultimatum that will lapse in the next eight days in order to avoid casualties in course of the shutdown.
Igbifa said: “To avoid casualties in the course of action, we advise IOC’s to peacefully move their personnel out. We are not going to carry guns and chase anybody as Ijaw youths, but we will stand on our right until our demand for a substantive board is inaugurated for the NDDC.